10 Games For Busy People

Love gaming, but find you just don’t have the time to commit to those long games of Eldritch Horror or Talisman? Just can’t commit to a full evening of D&D or X Wing? Believe us, we understand! No matter how dedicated you are to your gaming life, unfortunately real life often gets in the way. We have to earn the money that pays for all these wonderful games, after all!

What with keeping the online business ticking along while we plan and open up a brand new store at the same time, we are super busy right now, and our gaming time is taking a hit as a result. We want to play, but there’s just so darned much to do!

Which is why we started looking for shorter games that we can fit in on our lunch breaks, or as a quick fix before we collapse, exhausted, into our beds at night! Here’s the best 10 we’ve found, in no particular order:

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1: Game of Thrones: Hand of the King

The king has called for a lavish feast and tourney, the likes of which have not been seen in the Seven Kingdoms since the days of Aegon the Conquerer! What’s more, the king has declared that at this feast, he will choose his new Hand—and you have a chance of rising to this lofty position! Of course, you’re not the only one with eyes set on becoming the power behind the Iron Throne. In Hand of the King, you’ll need to scheme and backstab to outwit your opponents, and you’ll need the help of Varys, the Master of Whispers, to do it.

Hand of the King is a fast-paced card game of conspiracies and sudden twists of fate for two to four players, challenging each of you to gain the most support among the twisted intrigues of the King’s Landing court. Each turn, you’ll send Varys to do your bidding, moving through the court and inciting iconic characters from A Song of Ice and Fire to support your cause. With the help of some companions and crafty alliances with other players, you just might rise to become the king’s new Hand!

The game is presented in brilliant, colourful cartoon artwork, and is a fun game of politicking, backstabbing and manipulation. Excellent for Game of Thrones fans who don’t have time to put the bigger games on the table!

Hand of the King is a game for 2-4 players, average game time of 15-30 minutes and recommended for ages 14+

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2. Hero Realms

Hero Realms is a fantasy-themed deck-building game that is an adaptation of the award-winning Star Realms game. The game includes basic rules for two-player games, along with rules for multiplayer formats such as Free-For-All, Hunter, and Hydra. Each player starts the game with a ten-card personal deck containing gold and weapons. An 80-card Market deck is shared by all players, with five cards being revealed from that deck to create the Market Row. As you play, you use gold to buy champion cards and action cards from the Market. These champions and actions can generate large amounts of gold, combat, or other powerful effects. You use combat to attack your opponent and their champions. When you reduce your opponent’s health to zero, you win!
Multiple expansions are available for Hero Realms that allow players to start as a particular character (Cleric, Wizard, Fighter, etc.), fight cooperatively against a Boss, fight Boss decks against one another, or compete in a campaign mode that has you gain experience to work through different levels of missions. So for a relatively simple card game, there are loads of ways to play it! Game times will vary depending on what type of game you choose to play, but a basic two-player game can be played inside of half an hour.

Hero Realms is a game for 1-4 players, average game time of 20-30 minutes and recommended for ages 12+

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3. Codenames

In Codenames, two teams compete to see who can make contact with all of their agents first. Spymasters give one-word clues that can point to multiple words on the board. Their teammates try to guess words of the right colour while avoiding those that belong to the opposing team. And everyone wants to avoid the assassin!

With multiple versions now available, such as Codenames: Pictures if you prefer image clues, and Codenames: Deep Undercover if you like a touch of racy humour with your games, this ridiculously popular game really is as much fun as everyone says it is! It’s a very simple premise that works brilliantly, and lends itself well to being a silly party game or a more in-depth, tactical thinking challenge.

Codenames has won several awards, among them the coveted Spiel de Jahres award!

Codenames is a game for 2-8 players with an average game time of 15-20 minutes and recommended for ages 14 + (except for Deep Undercover, which is recommended for ages 18+)

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4. Lost In R’Lyeh

R’lyeh is a terrible and ancient city, risen from the depths of the Pacific by a great curse. There, Cthulhu lies both dead and dreaming, waiting to consume any who venture near. In Lost in R’lyeh, players are trapped in HP Lovecraft’s short story, The Call of Cthulhu. From the mysterious discovery of a profane idol, to dreams of a dark cult, to landfall in a cyclopean metropolis and Cthulhu’s horrific emergence, no player can truly win … although the last player to escape will be the ultimate loser, for that player will be forever Lost in R’lyeh!

Each turn, players choose to play either event cards or horror cards. Play the largest card sets you can to unlock ever-mightier powers. When the time is right, transition from playing cards from your hand to eliminating your array of escape cards. What’s more, decide each turn whether picking up the whole stack will help you win, even though you’re ultimately trying to get rid of cards.

This game plays very easily, has gorgeous artwork that any Lovecraft fan will love, and has an interesting last-past-the-post victory condition. You don’t play to win … you play to not be the loser! The last one left in R’Lyeh has to keep Cthulhu company!

Lost in R’Lyeh is a game for 2-6 players with an average game time of around 30 minutes and recommended for ages 13 +

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5. Tiny Epic …

Yes, we know that this is more than one game, but how do you choose between the Tiny Epic games? Each game in the series is nicely contained in a small box, works with streamlined, intuitive rules and plays out in about half an hour. Despite this, each one is different enough to make it well worth your while to play them all!

And don’t let the size of these little games put you off – they are specifically designed to be handily portable while still offering all the gameplay, strategy and entertainment that their bigger counterparts can offer. Perfect for travel games or getting to your local gaming club!

Choose between Tiny Epic Kingdoms, Tiny Epic Galaxies, Tiny Epic Defenders, and Tiny Epic Western! There are also a couple of expansions to make Tiny Epic Kingdoms and Tiny Epic Galaxies a little less … er, tiny!

The Tiny Epic games are generally for 2-4 players with an average game time of around 30 minutes and recommended for ages 14+

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6. Love Letter

Another one that is technically more than one game, as there are so many fantastic versions of it, Love Letter is a game of risk, deduction, and luck for 2–4 players. The game features incredibly simple rules that create dynamic and exciting player interactions. In the original, players attempt to deliver their love letter into the Princess’s hands while keeping other players’ letters away. If that sounds a bit too twee for you, check out the Batman version, where you’re trying to root out the most powerful supervillains of Gotham City; or The Hobbit version, where you’re trying to avoid Smaug while you search for the Arkenstone! Each version is slightly different, but the core gameplay is the same: draw, play and discard cards to try to hide what you have in your hand while at the same time trying to figure out what your opponents have in theirs. If you catch them out, you can eliminate them from the round. Earn points over a number of rounds to win!

You can knock out a few rounds of this game very quickly, or you can set a higher winning score and play til you get there if you have time for a longer game. It’s simple, fun, and very addictive!

Love Letter games are generally for 2-4 players with an average game time of 20 minutes and recommended for ages 10+

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7. Side Quest: Pocket Adventures

Side Quest: Pocket Adventures is a dungeon crawling card game that fits in your pocket! This is a fully co-operative adventure that focuses on tough decisions, character advancement and push-your-luck mechanics. For 1 to 4 players, it takes 10 minutes to teach and 30 minutes to 2 hours to play.

With a single deck of cards and a couple of dice you will battle your way through a decision-packed dungeon. Which monsters will you fight and which will you run from? Should you grab some loot before you rescue the villager? Plan together, fight together, win together!

The time this game takes to play does vary, but is generally shorter with less players, so for 1 to 2 players it’s a lovely quick game. The random generation of the dungeon also affects the length of the game. The cards are easy to understand and the artwork is great, so it’s a good family game as well as a quick lunchtime play.

Side Quest: Pocket Adventures is a game for 1-4 players with an average game time of 30 – 120 minutes and recommended for ages 8+

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8. Splendor

As a wealthy Renaissance merchant, acquire mines and transportation, hire artisans and woo the nobility. Acquire precious stones to trade for development cards. Use development cards to acquire more gemstones. Use your gems and gold to create the most fantastic jewelry, and appeal to the nobles to gain the prestige you need to win!

Splendor is a deceptively simple but challenging game! Collect gemstones to trade for gem mines; the gem mines give you a permanent income of gems so that you can acquire more mines; and when you are rich enough you can earn the patronage of nobles who will add to your wealth. The first jewel merchant to reach the target wealth wins!

This is a great game to get new players into board games as the rules really are so simple to learn! It’s also good if you want to play a game, but need to keep the noise down – every time I’ve played this it’s ended up being played in almost total silence, as we’re all thinking too hard to talk!

Splendor is a game for 2-4 players with an average game time of 30 minutes and recommended for ages 10+

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9. Multiuniversum

The day has finally come when you will change the face of science and humanity’s knowledge forever! Today you will launch the time machine you’ve worked on for so many years. You kept a low profile and managed to keep the whole thing a secret, but not for much longer; soon your name will be printed in bold font in all the history books across the globe! Everyone’s at their posts. Transformators are running at full power, all systems checked, tools ready. Time to…START!

What in Einstein’s name happened?! Why have so many portals opened at once?!…WHAT ARE THESE CREATURES!? AND WHY ARE THEY SWALLOWING DR.FERGUSON?!

Alright, it’s time to clean up a bit before you can see your name in those history books! In Multiuniversum you race your opposing players to close down the portals and score points for each one you do, locking away the terrors that lurk within. It’s a card puzzle game in which players use actions on their cards to do research, move between the five modules of the Hadron Collider, and prepare tools so they can close portals. When you close a portal you get a sample from that universe and knowledge points! The game ends when all the portals have been closed. The scientist who got the most knowledge points receive a Nobel prize and wins the game!

Multiuniversum is a game for 1-5 players with an average game time of 20-40 minutes and recommended for ages 12+

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10. Dungeons & Dragons: Rock Paper Wizard

Cast spells and compete against other wizards in an epic race for loot! Rock Paper Wizard is a fun D&D party game for 3-6 players that combines strategy, luck and a bit of hand coordination!

Your adventuring party has just defeated a fiery dragon in a treacherous cave. Now you and your fellow wizards argue over how to distribute the shares of treasure left behind, and do what every self-respecting wizard does: initiate a spell battle! Choose your wizard’s spell and cast it by repeating the hand gestures on the card. Everyone says Rock, Paper, Wizard aloud, and forms a hand gesture and points it towards a target. Each card describes the spell’s effect, which can push an opponent toward the exit, advance yourself toward the hoard, or manipulate the coins each wizard must collect to win. The first wizard to collect 25 gold pieces wins!

So if you’re looking for a quick, silly party game, or just want something to entertain yourselves with before your D&D game, this is a really fun, very silly game!

Rock Paper Wizard is a game for 3-6 players with an average game time of 30 minutes and recommended for ages 14+

What short time-filler games would you recommend? Let us know in the comments!

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