Board Game Café
Welcome! We’ve tried to gather a selection of cutting-edge modern games that are playable in a short amount of time. Like, you know, lunch.
If you’re planning to drop by, you can save some time by previewing our games below. You’ll also find links to rulebooks to peruse or videos to watch. Better than that, though, drop in, grab a game, and start learning it!
Grab some teammates and choose Marvel heroes to battle classic villains, including the Big Purple Guy himself, if you like. Use your unique powers to help your friends defeat a host of henchmen and finally, the boss—all in real-time, all in five minutes!
Draw some cards from your personal deck into your hand. You’ll have some cute veggies, and some cute artichokes. Use the powers on your veggie cards to draw, discard, and pass around cards from your hand. As soon as you manage to draw a hand with no artichokes in it, you win!
This fast-paced, tightly constrained game has you battling an opponent for control of three theaters of war (air, land, and sea!) by strategically playing cards from your six-card hand, and trying to recognize early on where your strengths lie. Playd over a series of rounds, the first to score 12 victory points wins.
Players flip category cards from a deck until two symbols match. The matching players race to be the first to call out an example of the category on their opponent’s card. Collect the most cards to win!
Draw letter tiles from the banana (as you do) and build them into crossed words in front of you. First player to use all of her tiles is the winner!
Regular Blokus can be played with only two players, but this specially condensed version tightens the playing field to make an especially competitive game just for two. Grab a buddy and give it a try!
Work with your teammates (castlemates?) to defend your fortress against hordes of attacking goblins, orcs, and trolls. As long as one tower or wall is left standing when the baddies run out, you all win!
Take your turn as captain of the fantasy airship to pilot your companions to ever more distant cloud cities and fabulous treasures, or send them plummeting to their doom. It’s all in your hands, Bub. Until the next player takes over, that is.
Nothing but bluffing in this game! Pass a face-down insect card to an opponent and make a simple claim: “This is a——” or “This is not a——” Your opponent can try to pass it along, or call your bluff. If they’re wrong, the card goes in front of them; if they’re right, the card goes in front of you. The first player to have four matching cards in front of them loses!
Using only single-word clues, spymasters try lead their team to guess coded words on a grid before their opponents. If anyone carelessly uncovers the assassin, it’s instant game over!
Just like the game Codenames, but this time your single-word clues are trying to lead your partner to cards with…unusal pictures on them. Be careful! The assassin is still lurking somewhere on the grid.
You’re a bandit pulling off a daring Old West train robbery! Problem is, up to five other bandits have had the same idea! Play cards to grab as much loot as you can while punching and shooting at your rivals, but watch out for the marshal!
Use your influence, wits, and brazen deception to be the last one standing in a cutthroat, vaugely medieval cyber-punk world.
You and your greedy siblings are looting treasures from an ancestor’s crypt. Use “servant dice” to claim treasures or edge out your rivals; but getting too greedy can leave you with all your servants exhausted. Collect the most valuable treasure sets to win the game!
Make up a clue that will help others guess your weird picture-card. This is easier than it sounds, though, since everyone else has thrown cards into the mix as well, and they want players to guess theirs, not yours.
Journey into a dungeon with your adorable friends. Work together to kill monsters by playing numbered cards from your hand. But don’t help too much—the player who contributes least comes away with the most loot, unless the monster wins, of course.
Zombies are about to overrun the city! You and your friends have 15 minutes to collect survival gear, load the van, and get the heck OUT. Frantically roll and re-roll your handful of dice to explore the city, collect gear, and fight zombies that get in your way.
You play a greedy seagull raiding fishing boats for tasty fish. Bid tokens to bump your competitors away from the best catch as you try to collect the most of each color.
You and your companions have crash landed in a strange desert. Your only hope for escape is to scour bizarre ancient ruins for parts to reconstruct a mystical flying machine. Blowing sand and thirst are your mortal enemies. Will you survive? (Probably not, really.)
You and your team of intrepid treasure hunters are searching a mysterious island for four ancient artifacts. Simple enough, except the island is sinking beneath your feet. Work together to find the items and escape, before the whole island vanishes beneath the waves!
Cobble together a space ship from a pile of junk parts, and blast off for fortune and glory! Then watch in horror as your creation endures meteors, pirates, and other hazards, shedding parts as your team of astronauts tries to pilot it home again.
You and your colleagues are trying to arrange cards by color in descending order from 5 to 1 by playing them from your hands. The catch? You hold your cards backwards, so everyone can see them but you. Others can give you limited clues about what you’re holding, and everyone tries desperately to remember what they’ve been told about their own cards. Oh—there’s also a time limit, of sorts. But other than that, no pressure, really!
Move your penguins in straight lines to grab fish before your opponents do, shrinking the ice floe at the same time, until everyone is left stranded on little fish-infused ice cubes. When movement becomes impossible, the penguins with the most fish win!
I Can’t Even starts with a single rule: The player with the highest odd score wins! Play different Monsters to gain points, but watch out! Opponents will try to sabotage you and interfere with your plans. Will you collect safely, sabotage rivals, or go for the big play yourself?
Roll handfuls of chunky dice to rampage your giant monster through Tokyo or bash rival giant monsters to become the unrivaled King!
All right, King So-and-so, add lands to your 5 x 5 square kingdom by claiming tiles from the ones revealed. Then place it domino-style next to matching tiles in your growing kingdom, trying to score the most points with large areas of terrain and skillfully leveraged multipliers.
Build a team of adorable minis and make them battle in an adorable arena! Each character has unique stats and attacks, or course, and they’re all adorable. Maybe a little much for lunchtime, but worth a try, if you like that sort of thing.
There are many suitors for the princess of Tempest, but you, of course, are the suitiest. Using Wit and Deduction, try to get your letter delivered to the princess, while foiling the plans of your opponents.
Protect your mothership while attacking your enemies in this rather ruthless and delightfully cartoony space battle game. Use cards to blast other ships, or save up to buy upgrades for your fleet. Last mothership standing is the winner!
A dwarf, an elf, a barbarian, and a mage walk into a shopping mall…and hilariously frustrating real-time co-op gaming chaos occurs, it seems. A super-unique cooperative game that probably can’t even be summarized here. Play it!
It’s a videogame boardgame! Run your adorable character through a level in a strange land, collecting treasures and dodging enemies for as long as you can. Trade your treasures for extra lives and buildings that generate coins. The first one to collect 20 coins is the winner.
Probably too long for lunchtime, but it’s lying around, so… Dungeon exploring reduced to its most ridiculous essence. Kick down doors, kill monsters, take stuff and run. Oh, and keep an eye on your “friends.” First one to Level 10 (by hook or by crook) wins!
It’s a race to save the Golden Cheese from a ferocious (and turophilic?) dragon! Pull cards from other players’ hands one at a time to collect movement points for your mouse-hero, but don’t pull an obstacle card, or your mouse goes nowhere! At the end of your turn, you distribute any of your cards to other players’ hands. Simple fun with a clever pop-up board!
Try to capture your opponent’s Master or move your Master onto your opponents shrine to win this addictive two-player game. The catch? Five randomly drawn movement cards rotate around the table, and represent the only movements available for the whole game.
Based on an old computer game frequently used in middle schools to warn children of the dangers of joining unregulated wagon trains, players work together to try to survive a grueling trip to the West. Or, in some cases, abandon each other to pathetic deaths. Or, in many cases, all die before they really get anywhere.
A quick and simple card game where scoring points is bad. Draw cards, trying to avoid getting a pair. If you draw a match, you score points. The first player to a target score loses the game. Ouch.
You are well-mannered nobles settling grievances in the time-honored tradition: Dueling catapults attached to old-timey bicycles, launching wealth at each other! Build a collection of valuables for points, and hit other catapults to make your enemies lose theirs!
The player whose turn it is rolls a handful of dice, and everyone marks their scoresheets, trying to eliminate as many numbers as possible. Easy to learn and quick to play!
You are gnomes. Or dwarves. Or kobolds. Or some kind of little guys who dig in the ground looking for treasure. Except a few of you are saboteurs, trying to ruin everything. Work together to find gold, or prevent the others from finding gold, depending on your role.
Stand shoulder to shoulder with up to six (!) of your samurai companions to defend a helpless village from waves upon waves of bandits. But wait, there’s more! Just when it looks like your warrior might fall beneath a horde of marauders, his beast spirit will emerge, transforming him and activating special beast-samurai powers!
A beautifully-illustrated bluffing game, where each player has a “hand” of four disks—three flowers, and one skull. Players take turns playing disks face down in front of them until someone challenges, and announces a number of discs they will flip. Flip all flowers, they score. Flip a skull, and they lose, and forfeit one of their discs. The first player to score twice wins.
You play the crew on a Sitting Duck class explorer ship, which flies off into uncharted space and…kind of sees what’s there. What’s there is generally trying to kill you. Everyone works at the same time to decide on strategy and actions as the computer announces threats, and then you sit back and watch your plans fall apart, generally. Great fun!
Using one of your six action cards each turn, collect colored stones to offer to your five spirit animals. Each animal scores points for different combinations of stones. Some actions let you move the coyote onto your opponent’s board to block an animal until they can move it away. A not unpleasant way to pass a few minutes!
Grab items from the sushi conveyor belt as they go by to make tasty combos for points, or block your opponents from enjoying theirs. Then have pudding.
Choose a different role each turn—will you be a Farmer? A Queen? A Merchant? Each role gives you abilities to use as you race your opponents to be the first to draw a gem of your color from the bag. But only a true Wizard can pull that feat off!
Smash, bash, and sometimes blast your way to the finish line as you ride a titanic creature over a looping race course. A fun, simple racing game where everyone is in on the action all the time. Can be played in teams, too!
Zen out with this simple game of placing tiles and sliding stones. Create a path for your stone to follow, while trying to hijack your opponents’ and steer them off the edge of the board and out of the game. Only lightly competitive and strangely relaxing.
Players add monster cards to a dungeon pool, while also removing bits of useful weapons and equipment from play, until some sort of equilibrium is reached, and one hapless adventurer has to face the dungeon with whatever equipment is left. Good luck, hapless adventurer!
It’s like a combination of Yahtzee! and Bingo and … something else? Each turn, choose a house number to build in your retro-utopia suburban development, and a corresponding bonus feature. Build parks, add swimming pools, build fences to complete planning goals. It’s like filling out a worksheet, but … funnerer?
You are a zombie. You want to eat brains. Roll dice, three at a time, to get brains to eat. Keep rolling and collecting brains as long as you want, but if you get “shot” three times, you lose them all! (Sad zombie is sad.) First zombie to chomp thirteen brains is the winner.
The rules are simple: draw a card and play a card. Try to collect “Keeper” cards that match the goal, and win the game. Except the goal keeps changing. And your hand size keeps changing. And the rest of the rules keep changing. Oh, and there’s zombies—they’re bad. But maybe they’re good? Everything’s in flux, in Fluxx.