When you’ve got a limited amount of time to play a game or two, such as a lunch break at work, or if you’re introducing friends to the tabletop gaming hobby, it can be useful to have some games on hand that are quick to teach and easy to learn. I’ve sorted this list into three sections, but the sections are not mutually exclusive, just a way to offer quick lists for specific situations – several of the games on this list fit into multiple sections. 

  1. Teach/Learn and Play in 30 Minutes or Less
  2. Introduction to Tabletop Games
  3. Gaming with Kids

Teach/Learn and Play in 30 Minutes or Less

Game Details
NameBetween Two Cities (2015)
ComplexityMedium Light [1.82]
BGG Rank518 [7.06]
Player Count (Recommended)1-7 (3-7)
Mechanism(s)Card Drafting, Partnerships, Set Collection, Simultaneous Action Selection and Tile Placement
Game Details
NameCat Lady (2017)
ComplexityLight [1.41]
BGG Rank1053 [7.16]
Player Count2-4
Mechanism(s)Card Drafting and Set Collection
Game Details
NameHanabi (2010)
Accessibility ReportMeeple Like Us
ComplexityMedium Light [1.70]
BGG Rank314 [7.14]
Player Count2-5
Mechanism(s)Cooperative Play, Hand Management, Memory and Set Collection
Game Details
NamePixel Glory (2014)
ComplexityMedium Light [1.89]
BGG Rank5187 [6.74]
Player Count2-4
Mechanism(s)Auction/Bidding, Deck / Pool Building and Rock-Paper-Scissors
Game Details
NameSantorini (2016)
Accessibility ReportMeeple Like Us
ComplexityMedium Light [1.74]
BGG Rank99 [7.64]
Player Count2-4
Mechanism(s)Grid Movement, Tile Placement and Variable Player Powers

Introduction to Tabletop Games

Game Details
NameAzul (2017)
Accessibility ReportMeeple Like Us
ComplexityMedium Light [1.80]
BGG Rank38 [7.93]
Player Count2-4
Mechanism(s)Card Drafting, Pattern Building, Set Collection and Tile Placement
Notes from RebeccaA great intoduction to puzzle board games.
Game Details
NameLanterns: The Harvest Festival (2015)
Accessibility ReportMeeple Like Us
ComplexityMedium Light [1.57]
BGG Rank631 [6.96]
Player Count2-4
Mechanism(s)Hand Management, Pattern Building, Set Collection and Tile Placement
Notes from RebeccaA great introduction to pattern building and set collection.
Game Details
NameMegaland (2018)
ComplexityMedium Light [1.63]
BGG Rank2367 [6.91]
Player Count2-5
Mechanism(s)Press Your Luck
Notes from RebeccaA great introduction to modern press-your-luck tabletop games.
Game Details
NamePaperback (2014)
Accessibility ReportMeeple Like Us
ComplexityMedium Light [1.98]
BGG Rank357 [7.26]
Player Count (Recommended)2-5 (2-4)
Mechanism(s)Card Drafting, Cooperative Play and Deck / Pool Building
Notes from RebeccaA great introduction to deck building.
Game Details
NameTicket to Ride (2004)
ComplexityMedium Light [1.86]
BGG Rank141 [7.45]
Player Count2-5
Mechanism(s)Card Drafting, Hand Management, Route/Network Building and Set Collection
Notes from RebeccaA great introduction to route building. There are several variations of Ticket to Ride, featuring many different maps. The original has a US map.

Gaming with Kids

3+ years old:

Game Details
NameDragon Rapid Fire (2016)
ComplexityLight [1.00]
BGG Rank14417 [5.43]
Player Count2-4
Mechanism(s)Dice Rolling and Roll / Spin and Move
Notes from RebeccaThis game of racing dragons is adorable and fun. It does contain some small pieces, so keep an eye on little ones who have a habit of sticking things in their mouths.
Game Details
NameFlashlights & Fireflies (2015)
ComplexityLight [1.00]
BGG Rank9690 [6.13]
Player Count (Recommended)2-5 (Unset)
Mechanism(s)Uncredited
Notes from RebeccaA fun game of hide and seek in the woods with firefly-powered flashlights! My 10-year-old niece still loves to play this one.
Game Details
NameRhino Hero (2011)
Accessibility ReportMeeple Like Us
ComplexityLight [1.03]
BGG Rank666 [6.96]
Player Count2-5
Mechanism(s)Hand Management
Notes from RebeccaA great (and quieter) alternative to Jenga, you'll build a tower with sturdy cards as Super Rhino attempts to climb and jump his way to the top. Just don't be the one to knock the tower over!

7+ years old:

Game Details
NameICECOOL (2016)
Accessibility ReportMeeple Like Us
ComplexityLight [1.02]
BGG Rank795 [6.87]
Player Count (Recommended)2-4 (3-4)
Mechanism(s)Area Movement and Take That
Notes from RebeccaPlayers are penguins racing around their school trying to catch fish and avoid the hall monitor. This game is fast and fun. Players flick penguins across the board and through doorways to maneuver around the school.
Game Details
NameKing of Tokyo (2011)
Accessibility ReportMeeple Like Us
ComplexityMedium Light [1.50]
BGG Rank259 [7.23]
Player Count (Recommended)2-6 (3-6)
Mechanism(s)Area Control / Area Influence, Card Drafting, Dice Rolling, Player Elimination and Press Your Luck
Notes from RebeccaIt's a battle of gigantic proportions as monsters, robots, and aliens try to take over Tokyo City! This is a fun, dice rolling, push-your-luck game.
Game Details
NameRoll For It! (2011)
ComplexityLight [1.05]
BGG Rank2929 [6.11]
Player Count (Recommended)2-4 (2-4+)
Mechanism(s)Dice Rolling
Notes from RebeccaA family-friendly dice and card game.

10+ years old:

Game Details
NameLove Letter (2012)
Accessibility ReportMeeple Like Us
ComplexityLight [1.20]
BGG Rank242 [7.25]
Player Count (Recommended)2-4 (3-4)
Mechanism(s)Hand Management and Player Elimination
Notes from RebeccaA game of intrigue and deduction as players compete to get their declaration of love delivered to the Princess. There's also a Batman version!
Game Details
NameMunchkin (2001)
ComplexityMedium Light [1.80]
BGG Rank3738 [5.92]
Player Count3-6
Mechanism(s)Card Drafting, Dice Rolling, Hand Management, Take That and Variable Player Powers
Notes from RebeccaFind a dungeon. Kick down the door. Defeat the monsters. Grab the loot. Thwart your opponents.
Game Details
NameSplendor (2014)
Accessibility ReportMeeple Like Us
ComplexityMedium Light [1.81]
BGG Rank131 [7.47]
Player Count2-4
Mechanism(s)Card Drafting and Set Collection
Notes from RebeccaSplendor is loved by gamers of all ages. Players are gem merchants competing for wealth and visits from the nobles. Develop strategic thinking and planning skills with this beautiful game.

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