144 – All Filled Up! Top 10 Filler Games – The Family Gamers Podcast

Episode 144 - Top 10 Filler Games

We’ve got a top 10 today – yes, actually 10! Inspired by some filler games we recently received in the mail, and looking forward to hanging out with One Board Family (because we talked filler games when we had them on the podcast), we decided we’d talk about our favorite filler games today.

First we thank Breaking Games, whose game The Stars Align is a nicely portable filler for two players. It’s quickly becoming one of our go-to games.

What We’ve Been Playing

Pyramix came down off the shelf in a whim, since we haven’t played it in a long time. All kids enjoyed it and it still holds up very well.

FUSE – a crazy real-time dice game. Cooperate to roll & place dice to complete cards and “defuse” the bomb in 10 minutes. Even our friend who dislikes cooperative games and dislikes dice-heavy games enjoyed it overall.

Fresh Fish – weird but fun from Friedemann Friese. Try to get your food stalls the closest to the supply trucks, through a combination of reserving spots, placing blocking spots, and bidding on stalls when they are revealed.

Supertall – feels just a little too short. See our SNAP review (or keep listening).

Tiny Towns – Here’s our review! It’s available in local game stores now, and coming to Amazon at the end of the week.

Santa’s Little Helpers and the Ice Cube Jam – one of the very first games we ever reviewed.

My First Stone Age – demolished by the 4 year old.

Filler – one of the games that inspired this episode. Expect to hear more about it soon.

Red Scare Redux – teams work together to complete goals in this spy-themed game. Once any team has completed 5 goals, the game ends and points are scored. In our case, the team with only 3 goals scored higher than the team that had finished 5.

Visitor in Blackwood Grove – which we recently reviewed. Surprisingly family-friendly once we grasped the rules.

Photosynthesis – grow trees and spread seeds, using “sun points” gathered by your existing trees. Grow trees to their full height and then chop them down for victory points. Important detail: trees closest to the middle are worth the most points when they’re chopped down.

Dungeon Draft – set collection drafting game with a fantasy theme.

No Thanks! – aim for the lowest score possible in this drafting game. Say “no thanks” to an available card by placing a token on it – and tokens help lower your score at the end of the game.

We find out that Andrew is a crokinole shark. He and his teammate flicked their caroms to victory in an impromptu tournament in an unexpected scoring frenzy.


SNAP Review: Supertall

Anitra explains this compact city-building game for 2 or 3 players.

Pictures and full text available in our SNAP reviews.

SNAP review music is Avalanche, provided courtesy of You Bred Raptors?


We won’t take it from our kids, but we’ll take it from you! Listener Adrian asks about the episode we did on Super League, a sort of little league for eSports. Specifically, Minecraft. We haven’t looked into it more recently, but we’ll ask the crew over at Engaged Family Gaming – they’re great for video game questions!

Top Ten Filler Games!

Let’s start with a definition. What makes a filler game?

  • Quick play (20 minutes)
  • easy to setup and explain
  • don’t take up a lot of table space
  • not expensive (most under $20)

The idea behind a filler game is to fill a small portion of time – whether you’re waiting for the pizza, or waiting for a player to free up for your “big” game. We particularly like filler games for family game time.

3 games to play with younger kids:

  • What’s Up – some matching, some memory, some strategy. We reviewed this about 2 years ago.
  • Batman: The Animated Series Dice Game – Batman, and dice rolling! It’s no secret our family loves this game at all ages.
  • Kingdomino – a slightly larger experience, but no reading, plays quickly, and a great intro to math concepts (adults should handle calculating the scores).

3 filler games to play in a larger group (5 or more)

  • Deep Sea Adventure – any player count from 2-6. A little more set up than the other suggestions, but we’ve loved it ever since Ryan, Erin, and Ric at One Board Family recommended it to us.
  • Duple / Anomia / Anomia Kids – these word games are best at 4+ players; no flat surface needed!
  • Get the MacGuffin – as we said in our SNAP review, this is a perfect filler game for a large group.

3 filler games for 2 players

  • The Stars Align – we really do love this game. It would be nice if the stars had a little more weight and the cards were waterproof
  • Kintsugi – reconstruct pottery while trying to keep your color in as few contiguous sections as possible – but also keep your color secret from the other player(s)! Kintsugi always makes us feel clever and sneaky while we play, and supports either 2 or 3 players.
  • Deblockle – this barely fits in our “filler” definition as it’s a little bigger and more expensive than the rest. Still only around $30 and not too big. Check out the SNAP review for more.

Our #1 filler game…

Drop It is our favorite, hands down. We gave it a perfect score, because we can’t think of any way you could possibly improve it. Intuitive, eye-catching, and fun for spectators too.

We left out your favorite filler game? Tell us!

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Thanks again to Breaking Games for sponsoring The Family Gamers Podcast. Check out their games Order of Invention and The Stars Align. linked here:

Breaking Games: Order of Invention

This week’s opening and closing music is Orchid by You Bred Raptors?.