194 – Quick Games – The Family Gamers Podcast

Episode 194 - Quick Games
Episode 194 - Quick Games

We start with some historical facts from the year 194!

This week, we’ll be talking about games we pull out when we want something quick. Sometimes we just want to take a quick break to play a game between schoolwork or chores. Thanks to Dave for suggesting this topic!

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What We’ve Been Playing

Funkoverse (both the Batman set and the Harry Potter set). Andrew praises the rulebook highly – it makes it really simple to get started!

MetroX (from Gamewright) – solo play is solid.

NyteLyfe Solitaire (from Button Shy’s Game of the Month Club). A neat twist that places a bit of a plot around a traditional 52-card solitaire game.

Cover Your Kingdom (from Grandpa Beck’s Games) – puntastic family fun. A little long, but that’s solvable.

Kids’ Game Day! Everyone picked at least one game to play. Abandon All Artichokes, Dr. Eureka, Tiny Ninjas, and Pyramix. Interestingly, Pyramix doesn’t get played a lot, but we keep coming back to it over and over, at all ages.

Forbidden Desert (from Gamewright) – fun but much harder than we remembered.

Animal Kingdoms has a satisfying solo mode, which Anitra talks about in her review, published today.

ION: A Compound Building Game (from Genius Games) – a drafting game in the same vein as Sushi Go, where players create compounds from ion cards (positive/negatively charged molecules). Easy to get started, reasonably interesting, and well put together – the best kind of educational game.


A teacher in New Zealand asks about print and play games for kids in early elementary.

Anitra recommends PNPArcade as a good starting point with a lot of variety. Andrew suggests the free mystery available at CleverKidsMysteries.com.

We’ve also enjoyed Ninja vs Robot (a solo game that only requires a single sheet of paper and two dice). You can also check out this thread on BoardGameGeek!

Monza Winner

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Blindfolded child playing Yum Yum Island

SNAP Review – Yum Yum Island

The whole Smith family tells you about this silly, cooperative dexterity game. Rescue all the animals on Yum Yum Island by feeding them green or pink food tokens… while blindfolded!

See the rest of the pictures and read the transcript on our SNAP review page.

Quick Games

What do you turn to when you want a quick game to help your brain take a break? Whether it’s with your spouse, or with your kids, you want something with limited setup and a quick play time. (In a different time, these might be “lunchtime” games or “filler” games.)

Our Top 4 Quick Games

There are 4 games that were on both of our brainstorming lists:

Tussie Mussie (from Button Shy) is the most compact (and probably has the fastest play time). Our favorite take on split-and-choose, with just barely enough time to develop a strategy.

Shobu (from Smirk & Dagger Games) is for only 2 players. A peaceful but intense abstract game. It’s a perfect information game so it’s easy to pause if necessary. Doesn’t travel particularly well “because it’s made of wood and rocks”.

Sprawlopolis (from Button Shy) is a cooperative game and probably takes up the most table space even though it’s very portable! It works well as a solo game or with up to 4 players. Build a city to meet or exceed your goals – with different goals every time.

Similo (from Horrible Guild / Luma Imports) is our last choice, and another cooperative game. It supports unlimited players, and we speculate you could play it on a video conference call.

Time-Bounded Games

Games that you know will take a specific amount of time. Generally real-time games such as:

FUSE – frantically roll dice and match them to drawn cards. A bit of setup to get started, but the game itself is over in 8 minutes.

5-Minute Dungeon and 5-Minute Marvel have been a big hit in our family. Again, a fair bit of setup (deal out a certain number of cards, mix in “bad stuff” cards, make sure everyone has their decks), but actual play time is only 5 minutes.

Panic Island is a real-time memory game that takes exactly 2 minutes (CORRECTION: Anitra said 1 minute).

Simpler Roll & Write Games

Ones where everything is laid out on your player sheet, or somewhat abstract games. Usually playable in 10-15 minutes, whether solo or in a group. Nick and Anitra have reviewed several of these over the last few years.

MetroX (Gamewright – review coming soon!)

HexRoller (Renegade)

Encore! (Stronghold Games)

Dizzle (Stronghold Games)

Qwingo (Gamewright)

Qwixx (Gamewright)

A Few More Favorites

Speaking of rolling dice, how about Roll For It? Especially in a family setting, this one is very easy to play and the press-your-luck aspect keeps it moving.

Drop It is one of our absolute favorites for all ages, and set up is quick.

Another big(ger) box but fast game is Kingdomino. The box becomes the dispenser for the tiles, so there’s very little set up. And you can find this game pretty much anywhere! They’ve got it at Target while you’re doing your grocery shopping.

Sushi Go or Go Nuts for Donuts are also favorites with our family and many others.

Some of the smaller and faster Ticket to Ride games (Ticket to Ride: New York and Ticket to Ride: London) should be easy to find and will also play in just a little more than 20 minutes.

Draftosaurus is our favorite drafting game and is simpler to understand than Sushi Go.

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