Sixty minutes doesn’t seem like a lot of time for gaming once you consider setup and pack up time. I’m fortunate enough to have a dozen guys who work in the city that are gamers, as well as a FLGS (friendly local games store) in the form of Tactics, who have a few tables set aside in their lobby. We are pretty much regular fixtures of a lunchtime.
There’s a few criteria to consider with a 60 minute or less game window.
- Flexible Numbers: You need games that can be pretty flexible in terms of numbers. If someone doesn’t show (thanks to that ad hoc meeting) then you need to be able to cater for that quickly. Likewise occasionally you’ll have someone turn up you were not expecting, or playing in a public space that naturally attracts gamers, the occasional passer-by with time and a friendly attitude.
- Communication: This is a biggie in my opinion. Knowing who to expect and what game you are going to play in advance helps immensely with the start-up time. First person on the ground can start that setup process knowing how many people to cater for.
- Drop-in/Drop-out players: This is kind of an optional, but games that have super fast play times allows for late comers to be included and allows for people to drop out when that urgent meeting crops up or you simply have to be back to the office a little earlier.
- Easily Transportable: Possibly a no brainer, but if you are having to lug a game to & from you FLGS then it needs to be light, easy to transport, and not end up a jumbled mess of components that need sorting before you even start the set-up.
- Quick to set up: If the game takes 15 minutes to set up all the components, give the players their starting cards/hand/meeples, etc, then it’s probably not the right game.
The opportunity to play a game with a bunch of mates makes a fantastic break to the day. Not everyone can make it every day, meetings are the dreaded realities of life often keep people back, and sometimes it doesn’t happen at all, but when we do it’s always a good laugh, and a recharge from the daily grind.
So what game scan you play on this small window of opportunity? Well we tend to favor anything which can involve everyone, and the list of games we have played is long. Here’s some favorites.
A bluffing card game from Indie Board & Cards We have played this game to death, with and without the expansion. This simple bluffing game is over in minutes, making it a game you can play many times in the hour. This means people can drop in and out easily enough between rounds. Check it out at Indie’s website or Board Gamer Geek
A drafting card game where each player is attempting to build a historic wonder like the Pyramids and acquire the most victory points. This one barely fits the criteria #4, and has a little more set up time as the card deck must be adjusted to the number of players. However, our little group now has such a good idea of how to play that we can rip through a game in a half hour. We even managed to get two games in a lunch break once. 7 Wonders has become the default game due to it a quick play and capability to handle up to 7 players. Check it out at Board Gamer Geek
I blogged about The Agents earlier this month, and as a card game it’s another one that quick to set up. The rules for this one take a bit more explaining, and once you start chucking in expansions it can take longer to explain to a new gamer. However, once everyone has a handle on the game you can easily play to the endgame within the hour. Speaking of expansions, my favorite is the ‘Break the Rules” expansion, because it does just that… breaks the rules. think of it as a randomized way to introduce a house rule that changes or omits one of the core game rules. Things get interesting.