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!


games in our collection


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!

Word yelling, whatsthenameofashampoo
3–6 players       30 minutes


Luis Olcese


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!

Competitive crossword building, tasty fruit
1–8 players       15 minutes


Charlie McCarron

Castle Panic

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!

Tower defense, hand management, boulders!
1–6 players       60 minutes

  Rulebook        TableTop

Beatrix Schilke


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.

Push your luck, deduction, fantasy airship
2–6 players       30 minutes

  Rulebook        Shut Up & Sit Down

Shut Up & Sit Down


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!

Word guessing, grid reading, nail biting
2–8 players       15 minutes

  Rulebook        TableTop

Henk Rolleman

Colt Express

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!

Programming, hand management, rootin’ tootin’
2–6 players       40 minutes

  Rulebook        Best Play: The Gist

Mike Hulsebus


Use your influence, wits, and brazen deception to be the last one standing in a cutthroat, vaugely medieval cyber‐punk world.

Lying, assassination, general rottenness
2–6 players       15 minutes

  Rulebook        Watch It Played!

Mike Hulsebus


Make up a clue that will help others guess your weird picture‐card. Problem is, everyone else has thrown cards into the mix, as well, and they want players to guess theirs, not yours.

Creative communication, bunnies
3–6 players       30 minutes

  Rulebook        TableTop

Mayday Games

Dungeon Busters

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.

Bluffing, press your luck, adorbs
3–5 players       20 minutes

 Drive Thru Reviews

Geek & Sundry

Escape: Zombie City

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.

Cooperative dice rolling, real‐time frenzy
2–4 players       15–20 minutes

  Rulebook        Rahdo Runs Through

Mike Hulsebus

Forbidden Desert

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.)

Co‐op exploration and survival, unpitying sun
2–5 players       45 minutes

  Rulebook        TableTop

Vincent Paone

Forbidden Island

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!

Co‐op exploration and survival, rising tides
2–4 players       30 minutes

  Rulebook        TableTop

Ryan Bull

Galaxy Trucker

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.

Real‐time construction, final frontiers
2–4 players       60 minutes

  Rulebook        Shut Up & Sit Down

Shut Up & Sit Down

Hey! That’s My Fish!

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!

Strategy grid movement, global warming?
2–4 players       20 minutes

  Rulebook        Team Hypercube

Scott King

King of Tokyo

Roll handfuls of chunky dice to rampage your giant monster through Tokyo or bash rival giant monsters to become the unrivaled King!

Card drafting, dice rolling, press your luck
2–6 players       30 minutes

  Rulebook        TableTop

Henk Rolleman


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.

Tile placement, kingdom building
2–4 players       15–20 minutes

  Rulebook        Watch It Played!


Love Letter

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.

Cards, deduction, pitching woo
2–4 players       20 minutes

  Rulebook        TableTop

Aleksandra Cieśla


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!

Hand management, silly space battles
2–8 players       20 minutes


Henk Rolleman

Magic Maze

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!

Co‐op, communication, no talking!
1–8 players       3–15 minutes

  Rulebook        Dice Tower

Steve Jackson Games


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!

Card drafting, ruining people’s day
3–6 players       60–120 minutes

  Rulebook        TableTop

Games Quest


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.

Strategy, grid movement, mystic animals
2 players       10–30 minutes

  Rulebook        Watch It Played!

Caitlin Curley

The Oregon Trail Card 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.

Co‐op, hand management, poop to death
2–6 players       30 minutes

 How to Play Oregon Trail

Daniel Solis

Penny Farthing Catapult

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!

Card drafting, equal & opposite reactions
2–4 players       20 minutes


W. Eric Martin


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.

Press your luck, fresh fruit
2–8 players       15 minutes

  Rulebook        How to Play Pairs

Mark Palframan


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!

Dice rolling, sheet marking
2–5 players       15 minutes

  Rulebook        How to Play Qwixx

Aldo Ojeda

Samurai Spirit

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!

Press your luck, co‐op, beast spirits
1–7 players       30 minutes

  Rulebook        Shut Up & Sit Down

Henk Rolleman


Race to build up the beautiful white buildings of the island of Santorini, while making things difficult for your opponent. The first player to get a worker to the top of a building wins. Special powers granted by the gods add variables to the game.

Abstract strategy, Greek gods
2–4 players       20 minutes

  Rulebook        Rahdo Runs Through

Louie L

Space Alert

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!

Real‐time, co‐op, programming, yelling
1–5 players       30 minutes

  Rulebook        Roll For Crit

Charlotte Malone


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.

Bluffing, more bluffing
3–6 players       15–45 minutes

  Rulebook        Jon Gets Games

Board Game Authority

Sushi Go!

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.

Card drafting, tasty fish
2–5 players       15 minutes

  Rulebook        Table Top


Titan Race

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!

Dice rolling, take that, tiny giant beasts
2–6 players       30 minutes

  Rulebook        Watch It Played!

D Bruff


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.

Abstract strategy, route building
2–8 players       15 minutes

  Rulebook        Watch It Played!

Bill Kunes

Welcome to the Dungeon

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!

Push your luck, bluffing
2–4 players       30 minutes

  Rulebook        Table Top

Amber Woywitka

Zombie Dice

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.

Push your luck, lots of dice, zombies
2–99 players       10–20 minutes

  Rulebook        Table Top

Zombie Fluxx

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.

Cards, zombies, ever‐changing rules
2–6 players       10–40 minutes