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

5‑Minute Marvel

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!

Frantic card flipping, exhaustion
2–5 players       5 minutes/round

  Rulebook        Blue Giant Media

Eric Yurko

Abandon All Artichokes

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!

Deck building, drafting, vitamin A
2–4 players       20 minutes

  Rulebook        Good Time Society

Daniel Thurot

Air, Land, & Sea

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.

Hand management, battling cards
2 players       15–30 minutes

  Rulebook        TheGameBoyGeek



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

  Rulebook        Anomia Press

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

  Rulebook        The Rules Girl

Matthew Marquand


Use your colorful Tetris pieces to grab as much territory on the board as you can while blocking your opponents from doing the same! Easy to learn and fast to play. 

Area control, abstract strategy
2–4 players       20 minutes

  Rulebook        Triple‑S Games


Blokus Duo

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!

Area control, abstract strategy
2 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

Róbert Dankó

Cockroach Poker

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!

Bluffing, sort of pokerish
3–6 players       20 minutes

  Rulebook        No Rolls Barred

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, deduction, team play
4–8 players       15 minutes

  Rulebook        TableTop


Codenames: Pictures

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.

Picture guessing, deduction, team play
4–8 players       20 minutes

  Rulebook        CGE

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

Patrick Higingbotham


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!

Jeffrey Chin


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!

Set collection, dice rolling
1–4 players       20–35 minutes

  Rulebook        R2i Games

Mike Hulsebus


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.

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

Existential Reviews

Fish Frenzy

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.

Set collection, bidding battles 
3–5 players       20–30 minutes

  Rulebook        Watch It Played!

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

Steve Friedly


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!

Memory, set collection, limited communication
2–5 players       25 minutes

  Rulebook        Roll for Crit

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


I Can’t Even With These Monsters

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? 

Hand management, monster mayhem
2–5 players       15–30 minutes

  Rulebook        Daniel Solis

Wyjdzie w Graniu

Infinity Gauntlet


Teams, set collection, ominous snaps
2–6 players       15 minutes

  Rulebook        Watch It Played

Wyjdzie w Graniu

Jetpack Joyride


Teams, set collection, ominous snaps
2–6 players       15 minutes

  Rulebook        Watch It Played

Starfish Store

Just One


Limited communication, word guessing
3–7 players       20 minutes

  Rulebook        Repos Production

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!

Japanime Games

Krosmaster Arena

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.

Strategy, movement/action management, adorable violence
2 or 4 players       60? minutes

  Rulebook        Overview

Lost Cities


Hand management, set collection, exotic expeditions
2 players       30 minutes

  Rulebook        The Rules Girl


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

Henk Rolleman


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.

Push your luck, engine building
2–5 players       20 minutes

  Rulebook        Watch It Played!

Kim Brebach



Throwing cards, tactical card powers, divine wrath
2–10 players       15–30 minutes

  Rulebook        Secret Base Games

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



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! 

Bluffing, press your luck, golden cheese
2–5 players       20 minutes

  Rulebook        Passport Game Studios

Adrián Jiménez

One Key


Deduction, pattern recognition, wild pictures
2–6 players       20 minutes

  Rulebook        Asmodee/Libellud

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

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

Kim Brebach

Paku Paku


Real-time dice rolling, dishes stacking
2–8 players       10 minutes

  Table Talk

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


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



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.

Hand management, hidden roles, pointy red hats
3–10 players       30 minutes

  Rulebook        Games Explained

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        Watch It Played!

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



Memory, card battles
2–4 players       10–15 minutes

  Scrimish Support

Cathy Nguyen

Similo Fables


Deduction, limited communication
2–8 players       10–15 minutes

  Rulebook        Dicebreaker

Cathy Nguyen

Similo History


Deduction, limited communication
2–8 players       10–15 minutes

  Rulebook        Dicebreaker

Cathy Nguyen

Similo Myths


Deduction, limited communication
2–8 players       10–15 minutes

  Rulebook        Dicebreaker

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

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

Stephanie Verbeure

Spirits of the Wild

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!

Set collecting, cool coyote!
2 players       15–30 minutes


Carthoris Thriambos

Summoner Wars


Fantasy card battles, strategy, hand management
2 players       30–60 minutes

  Rules Summary        Watch It Played

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



Drawing goofy pictures
4–8 players       30 minutes

  Rulebook        Watch It Played

Henk Rolleman

The Mind


Spooky mind melds, no talking!
2–4 players       20 minutes

  Rulebook        Geek & Sundry

Ben S.

The Wizard Always Wins

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!

Bag building, resource collection
2–5 players       30 minutes

  Rulebook        YouTube


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

Henk Rolleman

Welcome To…

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?

Paper and pencil, pattern building
1–100 players       25 minutes

  Rulebook        Roll For Crit

Jonathan Carnehl

Wits & Wagers


Trivia, wagering with poker chips!
3–7 players       25 minutes

  Rulebook        Game Trade Media



By popular demand, it’s everybody’s favorite card-flipping, color-matching free-for-all, now part of the BGC collection! You know how this one works, right? (Or do you, you slobs?)

Hand management, no stacking, yelling “UNO”
2–10 players       30 minutes

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


Arthur van Delft

Zoo-ography: The Card Game


Drafting, tile placement, animal husbandry
1–4 players       15–60 minutes

  Doomsday Robots